KUCHING: The government of today is ‘more honest and sincere’ on many issues, contrary to the situation at one time when people could be arrested under the Internal Security Act for speaking on matters in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
And the federal government has no reservations about returning to Sarawak any of the state’s rights that it may have taken inadvertently or otherwise, said the Prime Minister.
Najib Tun Razak, speaking at the opening the 14th general assembly of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here Saturday, said:
“We can have discussions to find solutions. Even in the Cabinet, there are many ministers from Sarawak.”
Bernama, the national news agency quoted him as saying that the federal government agreed to set up a high-level committee to discuss the matter with the high-level committee that the Sarawak government had established to discuss Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Najib, who is the Barisan Nasional chairman, also praised the unity and consensus demonstrated by PBB in that many party positions were won unopposed, and he said this should serve as a model for other political parties in the country.
Najib said that looking at the unity, consensus and fighting spirit demonstrated by PBB today, he was confident that the party was really ready to face the general election and would deliver the best outcome to the Barisan Nasional.
He also said that the government did not hesitate to channel development allocation to Sarawak because it was justified and added that development allocation was indeed necessary to bring equitable development to all.
He said there should by right be no development gap among states and, as such, a huge allocation should be channelled to Sarawak because development for all the people should be equally distributed among the states.
The Prime Minister said that it was for this reason that he was focusing on the development of the Pan Borneo Highway that cost no less than RM14 billion and was expected to be completed in 2021 and would be toll-free.
He also said that he was also focusing on building roads to Kapit in the Sarawak interior so that the area could be linked by the land route to the outside world.
“In the context of Sarawak, you don´t have to worry. I´m a good friend of Sarawak. I would like to see all corners of our homeland, from Perlis to Sabah, advance and undergo balanced, just and equitable development. It is my responsibility as the Prime Minister to address any development gap,” he said.
Najib said that as the Prime Minister he had visited Sarawak 59 times to take a closer look right up to the interior areas and said jokingly that this could be confirmed by Alfred Jabu anak Numpang, the former deputy Chief Minister, who had arranged the Prime Minister´s visits to the Land of the Hornbills.
The Prime Minister said he could see the special consensus between the PBB old and new leaders and the ethnic diversity that strengthened the party, so much so that he did not see any gap of differences among them.